Incredibly succulent, juicy pork belly and the perfect crispy crackling? This slow-roasted pork belly recipe is something special. It takes no time to prep, then just let the oven do all the work. Served with a sticky plum sauce, it makes a wonderful centrepiece to feed a crowd.
It’s hard to think of a more irresistibly juicy and tender roast meat than this gorgeous crispy pork belly. It’s absolutely perfect for special occasions and parties (it’s wonderfully festive on a Christmas lunch table) and a little goes a long way so you’ll get loads of servings out of it.
There are a couple of tricks and tips to get super juicy, tender meat and that lovely crispy skin. The first is salting the skin (ideally) the day before you want to cook. This is going to help draw moisture out of the skin, to allow that lovely crispy crackling to form.
We’re going to cook the pork super low and slow, to really tenderise the meat, then blast it for the last hour at a high temperature to form the crackling. While it does take time to cook, there are only about 10 minutes of actual hands-on time needed here. Just rub it with spices and salt, then pop it in the oven and let it do all the work. I’m serving it with a sticky, spiced plum sauce, loaded with Asian flavours which pair so well with the pork.
The great part about pork belly is that it needs very little to make it sing. A few cupboard staples and you’ll be on your way.
For the pork –
- Pork belly. Use a good quality, free-range piece of pork belly here. To save time, get your butcher to score the skin for you.
For the sauce –
- Plums. I love the flavour of plums with the Asian-inspired ingredients in the sauce, but you could also use peaches. You could also use tinned plums.
- Star anise. This brings a lovely aniseedy flavour (it’s not overpowering though so don’t worry!) Leave it out if you can’t find it.
- Cinnamon sticks. You could also use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon if you can’t find cinnamon sticks.
- Red wine vinegar. I love the fruitiness and colour this brings to the sauce, but you could use rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar instead if needed.
- Sugar. Use white sugar – I’m using caster sugar but regular white sugar would be fine too.
How to make it
Mix the 5 spice and salt, then rub it all over the flesh side of the pork belly. Turn it over, and rub off any that’s gotten onto the skin. Pat the skin side as dry as you can, then scatter over the salt, rubbing it all over. Transfer to the fridge, and leave uncovered for up to 24 hours.
Add the halved plums, star anise, cinnamon sticks, sugar, fish sauce, red wine vinegar and honey into a small pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the plums have softened but are still keeping their shape. Remove from the heat.
When you’re ready to cook the pork, heat your oven to 150C/300F fan. We’re going to cook it low and slow for 3 hours, then crank up the heat to get that lovely crispy crackling at the end. Pat dry any liquid that’s formed on top of the pork, then transfer the dish into the oven. After 3 hours, turn the heat up to 200C/390F fan and cook for another 40 minutes, until the skin is crackly, crispy and blistered all over. Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
PRO TIP: Make sure you’re using a super sharp knife to cut the pork if you’re looking for even, clean slices. I like to follow the scored lines in the crackling to cut through it firmly and decisively.
Got a question?
You could use a mix of ground cinnamon, cumin and coriander in its place – use 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground cumin and 1 tablespoon ground coriander.
You don’t have to – but give it at least 3 hours. The purpose is to dry the skin out as much as possible (salt will draw the moisture out) so that you get perfectly crispy crackling at the end.
Once cooked, leftovers will be fine for 5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftovers make brilliant tacos, wraps, sandwiches or dumpling fillings.
Complete your Christmas menu with these ideas
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print